TGI Fridays Offers Endless Appetizers as Price Wars Grow

Move Comes Amid Aggressive Discounting in Casual-Dining Sector

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Fridays Loaded Potato Skins: Have some more.
Fridays Loaded Potato Skins: Have some more.

If you ever wanted to eat, say, 50 potato skins in one sitting, now you can.

In a summer promotion intended to counter aggressive discounts at its rivals and fend off competition from cheaper restaurants, TGI Fridays is charging $10 per person for unlimited appetizers such as Fridays Loaded Potato Skins, garlic and basil bruschetta, mozzarella sticks, boneless buffalo wings, Tuscan spinach dip, crispy green bean fries and pan-seared pot stickers.

"It's another example of how Fridays is giving our customers a better time out at every opportunity when they visit our restaurants," said Ricky Richardson, President and Chief Operating Officer, TGI Fridays USA, in a statement.

The promotion is slated to run through late August.

The move comes as casual dining chains like Fridays, Chili's and Applebee's are waging price wars for customers they might otherwise lose to fast-casual chains without table service, such as Chipotle, that offer faster service and lower prices. Chili's and Applebee's, for instance, have long been offering a $20 deal that includes an appetizer and two entrees. Chili's has also been offering a $6 lunch combo deal.

Other Fridays promotions include its Pick 2 for $12/$16 deal, which includes an appetizer and entree from a limited list for $12 or a wider selection for $16, and daily drink and appetizer specials like $5 mimosas and half-price appetizers on Sundays or $5 Jack Daniel's drinks and appetizers on Tuesdays.

Fridays, the 35th largest chain in the U.S., according to Technomic, had systemwide U.S. sales of $1.62 billion last year, down 4.7% from 2012. It spent $52.7 million on U.S. measured media last year, according to Kantar media, up 43.2% from $36.8 million in 2012.

Carlson in May agreed to sell the restaurant chain to Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners in a transaction that is expected to be completed this month.

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